Weekly Wire
Weekly Alibi Odds & Ends

By Devin D. O'Leary

DECEMBER 8, 1997: 

Dateline: England--The ugly rumors have finally been put to rest. Humphrey is alive and well! England's latest political scandal began earlier this month when the Cabinet Office announced that Prime Minister Tony Blair's cat--a stray named Humphrey who made his home at 10 Downing Street--was unwell and was being retired to the suburban home of a kindly civil servant. Maverick opposition Conservative Member of Parliament Alan Clark quickly unspooled a different set of events to members of the press. According to Clark's conspiracy theory, Humphrey had actually been euthanized on orders from Blair's wife Cherie, who allegedly was not fond of the feline. "Humphrey is now a missing person," declared Clark. "Unless I hear from him or he makes a public appearance, I suspect he has been shot." The backlash against Blair was swift in a country renowned for its animal lovers. Blair was forced to launch a publicity offensive last week. On Monday, Blair posed for Britain's Press Association photographers with the aging Humphrey and a copy of the day's newspaper, allaying rumors that Humphrey was no more.

Dateline: France--France's Butcher's Federation has requested that the country's media stop using the word "butchery" when reporting on the recent bloody terrorist massacre of civilians in Egypt.

Dateline: Romania--In other labor news, witches in Romania are setting up their own union. Upset at the resent upswing of phony witchery, the union will only admit people who can "prove their ability to tell the future and lift evil spirits."

Dateline: Malaysia--An inexperienced golfer wandered too close to his partner at a Kuala Lumpur golf course and was knocked cold by the man's backswing. Anthony Phua, a 35-year-old lawyer, then got up, apologized for interfering, collapsed again and died.

Dateline: New York--Victoria's Secret, the famous lingerie retailer and bathroom reading material, unveiled a $3.5 million bra in New York City last week. The expensive undergarment was strapped to the chest of model Tyra Banks and driven in an armored car to the showroom of jeweler Harry Winston who designed the white, diamond-studded strapless bra. The one-of-a-kind brassiere is available--to whomever has the appropriate checkbook--in the Victoria's Secret Christmas catalogue.

Dateline: Ohio--Paul Sirks of Dayton, Ohio, landed his single-engine plane at Urbana's Grimes Field airport to check on some mechanical problems. While on the ground, Grimes tried to start the plane's stalled engine by hand-turning the propeller. He succeeded. The plane taxied down the runway all by itself, barely avoiding another plane and a nearby hanger, and became airborne. The pilotless vehicle circled the area for about five minutes before heading to the northeast. The plane flew for nearly two hours before it finally ran out of fuel and went down about 90 miles away in central Ohio.

Dateline: Pennsylvania--Theodore Stevens, 69, was accused of shooting his wife with a .38-caliber pistol, but was cleared last Tuesday of murder charges when he convinced a Philadelphia judge that he was under a voodoo spell. The wheelchair-bound man believed that his growing dementia, failing heart, worsening diabetes and the constant tingling in his legs were the results of an evil spell cast on him by his common law wife. Judge Lisa Richette bought Stevens' argument and reduced his conviction to involuntary manslaughter. Stevens will be sentenced in February, but it is unlikely that he will receive jail time on the minor charges.

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